Taths logoTools and Trades History Society


Interested in tools? This site is for you. Established in 1983 as a Charity, our aim is to advance the education of the general public in the history and development of hand tools and their use and of the people and trades that use them. But what does that actually mean?

This site is not just for collectors, or historians, but also the curious, with members worldwide. This covers any activity or craft where tools are used - book binding, leather work, sail making, boat building, cabinet making, printing, animal husbandry, metal working, wheelwrights, cider making, glove making, the list is endless, and how these implements have evolved over centuries.

This site is for researchers into social history but it is also for the young to explore something they picked up at the local car boot sale, or found in a skip, to encourage an interest and perhaps a craft.

This site is also for craftsmen and women to learn how different tools were used and to what effect, and for discussion, for mutual learning and exchange of information. There are social events and volunteering opportunities with like-minded and interested people and expert advice.

Explore further! If this is your first visit, the New Visitors page explains more about our activities. 

Joining TATHS makes sense, whatever your level of interest. You will be able find like minded enthusiasts and share your interests with them at local or national events and through our publications.

 Membership Terms & Conditions are set out in our constitution here

The Tools and Trades History Society is an educational charity, whose aim is to further the knowledge and understanding of hand tools and the trades in which they were used.

Joining TATHS makes sense whatever your level of interest as you will be able find like minded enthusiasts and share your interests with them at local or national events and through our publications. The reports of future and past events show the range of our activities; our online shop shows the range of our publications including our newsletter, journal, original books and reprints.

We are not primarily a collectors' club but most of our members do own quite a lot of tools and some of them have studied their specialist interests in depth.

The society owns a substantial collection of tools, which is on permanent public display at the Amberley Museum and Heritage Centre, near Arundel in West Sussex. All members are urged to visit Amberley as often as they can. We also have close links to the Hawley Collection in Sheffield.

The Society also holds a collection of more than a thousand books (including many that are now out of print) and old tool catalogues which is held at the Museum of Rural Life in Reading. It is available for research by both members and non-members.

Membership is open to all and we have members from around the world.  You can join on-line or by post. 


Tim Miller would welcome advice on this distinctive tool.  

As well as being a national organisation, TATHS also has a thriving network of regional groups. These groups organise their own meetings locally three or four times a year and are a good way of getting to know other members in your area. 

If you would like to join your local group, or be informed of forthcoming meetings, just send an email to secretary@taths.org.uk who will be delighted to hear from you.

The Salaman Awards were established in memory of Raphael A. Salaman (1906-1993), a distinguished historian of tools and trades. He always liked to consider tools within the context of their use and he took particular interest in the lives and working conditions of the tradesmen who used them. He was the author of two indispensable reference books, the Dictionary of Woodworking Tools and the Dictionary of Leather-Working Tools. He was a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries and he was a founding Vice-President of TATHS.

The Salaman family generously added to the funds available in 2015, securing the long term future of the awards.

Funds are available to a limit, in any one calendar year, of £2000 in the form of Grants towards the cost of research projects proposed to be undertaken. However, it would be very exceptional for the entire sum to be granted/awarded to a single project or piece of research.

Applications will be considered from any person or group, whether members of the Tools and Trades History Society or not.

Proposed projects and completed work submitted for consideration will be assessed by the Executive Trustees regarding:

  • Originality of the work and the extent to which it advances the Society's objective.
    Suitability for publication, either as written material or as a visual/aural record, under the auspices of the Society, or elsewhere with the acknowledgement of the Society's assistance.

Persons or Groups wishing to apply for Grants or Awards should download an Application Form and submit this when completed, together with any synopsis or particulars requested, for consideration by a Sub-Committee of Trustees especially charged with assessment of that and any other applications received.

Potential Applicants should be aware that submissions received in the early part of the year will be more likely of success in getting a Grant/Award that year, than those which arrive later, when other budgetary processes may have imposed funding constraints.
Final decisions about Grants/Awards in any one year will be made by the Executive Committee of Trustees, acting upon the recommendations of the appointed Sub-Committee.

Anyone who would like to add to the award fund should get in touch with our Chairman who will be pleased to discuss any proposals.

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Please note that TATHS is not responsible for the content of external sites.

If you wish to join the society
and have not yet made contact with us
you should join online.

If you have joined but not paid (perhaps you gave us a form at a show) you can pay here.

If you have already joined and want to renew your membership, you should use this page: Renew your subscription

All you need to do is click on the appropriate button and complete the transaction as prompted by PayPal using your PayPal account if you have one or any credit or debit card - we will then receive your payment and record it against your membership record. There is no form to fill in.

UK Individual Membership


12 months Individual UK Membership to TATHS

UK Family Membership


12 Months UK Family Membership(two members at the same address sharing one copy of each publication)

European Membership - Individual or Family


12 Months European Individual/Family Membership(up to two members at the same address sharing one copy of each publication)

Rest of World (inc USA) Individual or Family


12 Months Rest of World (inc USA) Individual/Family Membership(up to two members at the same address sharing one copy of each publication)

Student UK/Overseas Membership


12 Months UK and overseas Individual Student Membership. Bona fide students, UK and overseas.


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TATHS is an educational charity, registered with the Charity Commission, ref 290474.

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